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LEF Teacher Spotlight: Brian Watkins

Posted at 11:03 PM, Jan 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-29 00:03:44-05

"They get to experience a lot of different job tasks that they may have never seen before."

In the Options Department at St. Thomas More, students with special needs are exposed to all types of work.

"We have a number of students who love going into the business area because it's like an office...we have some that love to get dirty and get flour all over them, so they love being in the consumer area. So it really depends on their likes and interests," explained Brian Watkins.

Watkins was not always an educator.

"I spend a number of years in sales and I wasn't very happy I worked in sales for years and I wasn't happy with the type of job that I was doing...but when my son became a little older he was watching his older sister play softball and he about 8 years old during the game he says 'When do I get to play?'"

Watkins' son Logan was born with Spina Bifida. Longing to find inclusion for his son, he started his own foundation.

"It's called The Dreams Foundation of Acadiana and we started offering year-round activities for kids with special needs," said Watkins.

He fell in love with it so much, he quit his 14-year career in sales and went back to school to become a special needs educator.

Watkins said he loves being around his students.

"I found my patience. I found really, my calling," he added.

Although he's humbled to be a finalist, he admits being a little overwhelmed by the news.

"I'm not one that likes the spotlight, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart."

The LEF Teacher Awards take place Wednesday, January 29.